Middle Eastern archaeology also known as Near Eastern archaeology is a field of study in the area of the Fertile Cresent, the region between the Nile Valley (modern Egypt) , Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and the Levant the area adjacent to the east coast of the Mediterranean. The southern region which is Israel and part of Jordan formerly known as Palestine (Ancient Roman name) also comes under this field.
Some scholars also include Iran, the Arabian peninsula and its islands, Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), Cyprus and North Africa west of Egypt as part of this field. Its debated amongst them. Much of this region is rich in oil that some westerners call it Land of Black Gold. Herge popularized it in one of his Tintin stories which saw Tintin on a report in the middle east. The story is Land of Black Gold.
The middle east with its vast history has made media coverage more for its controversial politics than its archaeology. Most journalism from this region concerns itself more with the politics as in the Syria crisis. I would love to see more of the archaeology on the news than the endless wars and bloodshed. Back in 2003 one of my lecturers in my undergraduate degree at La Trobe University Dr. Anne Gardner expressed that the modern day conflict in this region mirrors that of the ancient conflict. Indeed the archaeology has proven the existence of the wars mentioned in the Bible through artifacts, burnt cities, written documents etc.
The archaeology of this area originated from the 19th century discipline of Biblical archaeology. Many 19th century Europeans were sticking spades in this region to uncover evidence of Biblical stories. Much archaeology in this region is still influenced by this discipline, however the last three decades has witnessed archaeologists moving their work away from the Bible.
After all this region has so many layers of different civilizations like the Semites, Arabs, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans etc. The deserts and sands in the region contain all these layers. No doubt there is so much more waiting to be discovered hidden beneath the sands and deserts.
Biblical archaeology which is quite a big field in the United States, not so much here deals with the regions mentioned in the Bible like Assyria, Babylon, Sumeria etc. Due to the historic interest in this area there are a large number of organisations dedicated to its archaeology like American Schools of Oriental Research .
The middle east is seen by many scholars to be the cradle of civilisation. To date the latest research shows that this region gave us the first forms of farming, agriculture, writing, the wheel (seen by many to be the greatest invention of humankind), centralised governments, law codes and empires as well as social stratification, slavery and organized government.It was here as well that the earliest forms of astronomy and mathematics appear.
Since i was 15 years old ive had a fascination with the ancient city of Sumer. Sumer was a city located in southern Mesopotamia in what is modern Iraq. Most scholars believe that it is the earliest known civilisation in the world. It arose in the late six millennium BC and lasted through the fourth millennium BC. People lived in mud-brick huts, practiced fariming and had formed government and cities. These cities had Zigurates (temples to the gods). They were in the form of pyramids with steps rising towards the sky.